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Cancer Res. 2002 May 15;62(10):2744-8.

Oncogenic beta-catenin is required for bone morphogenetic protein 4 expression in human cancer cells.

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Department of Oncology, Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University School of Medicine, 3970 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA.


Somatic cell gene targeting was used to create an isogenic set of human colon cancer cells that differs only in the presence or absence of their endogenous activated beta-catenin oncogene. Affymetrix Genechip expression profiling of parental cells and gene-targeted derivatives identified numerous novel genes whose expression was dependent on the presence of oncogenic beta-catenin. The transforming growth factor-beta family member bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4), whose receptor is mutated in a rare inherited gastrointestinal cancer predisposition syndrome, was the most highly differentially expressed gene. Additional experiments revealed that the oncogenic allele of beta-catenin specifically is absolutely required for BMP4 expression and secretion by human cancer cells and that BMP4 is overexpressed and secreted by human colon cancer cells with mutant adenomatous polyposis coli genes. These data identify the presence of regulatory interactions between the Wnt and BMP signaling pathways in cancer pathogenesis, providing an intriguing connection between the sporadic and inherited forms of a common human malignancy.

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